As I sit here, waiting on a few meetings to start, I figured I would let you know what I just got done reading. Now to prep you, I am a 30 year old, male, married with 2 kids. You will not normally find a Bridal Magazine in the office of the above said individual. In my office? YEP, you'll find that, lasers, photos and much more. The Wedding Industry has quite a robust amount of information all over the place. So anyways, back to the story. I am sitting here, reading the latest copy of Bridal Guide (July/August 2013) and there was an article that caught my eye. The title of it, like this post, is "If I Could Plan It Again..." and the writer, Debra Witt, talks with Brides and Planners about what they would do differently if they could go back and make some changes. Now, I am not going to copy the whole article verbatim, but I do want to pass along the main points and I will give my thoughts for each post. I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this magazine to read more details on why they chose what they chose. I would also encourage you to leave a message below in the comments if your are currently a planning Bride, a Bride that is already married or someone in the Wedding Industry... what is one thing that YOU would change, or wish you could have done differently.
"I'd lock in a venue before the other details - like my dress"
I actually really like this one. I think too many Brides feel that if they don't find "the dress" first and foremost, then the wedding will be a disaster. Not true. Find the big three (Venue, Photographer and DJ/Host) and lock them in if you can. These will be your core team members and you want to make sure to grab them up quickly because you will be working with them one on one for the longest time.
"I'd Hire A Videographer"
I can't agree with this enough. My wife and I took the cheap way on this, and had a past friend record it. She could honestly not care about it at all. She recorded the first part of the wedding.... when the guests were coming in.... and then stopped (why? we don't know) and then started recording again at the end. It was a sad day in the Wade household when we got back from the honeymoon and wanted to watch the wedding, which was awesome by the way, and find out that none of it was caught. This actually is a two part answer... 1st, don't "hire" friends to do special things for your wedding (pictures, videos, DJ, plan, etc.) it never works out well. Hire a professional that is only there to do what you're paying them to do. I don't want that to sound bad, but think about it. If you ask Uncle Jim to take your pictures because he does photography on the side, but then 15 minutes after the reception starts, he is off talking to friends and family, guess what you WON'T have later on? Pictures. 2nd, Videographers are actually very cost effective for what you will get. it's one thing to get great photos of your Ceremony, but wouldn't it be better to have a nicely done professional video of your Ceremony so you can see AND hear the vows being said to each other!?
"I'd Enlist Someone To Field My Calls The Entire Day"
I've never actually thought about this, but if you did do this, you would need someone very close to you because they would be possibly making serious choices about your wedding. An option that I would like to suggest is setting up a Google Voice number. They are totally free, and you can forward it to multiple phones. Set it up a few months before the wedding and only give it to your Wedding Professionals and those that could have actual emergency phone calls to you. If something major comes up, we can call that number, and it will go to you, your fiancee, your mom, wedding planner and anyone else. Super simple to set up and a great tool. Once the wedding is over, delete the account. No extra money out of your pocket, other than a little time to set it up and hand out the phone number. :-)
"I'd Get Personal Recommendations Before Hiring A Vendor"
This is a no brainer really. Written reviews are great, video testimonials are great, but being able to speak with a past client one on one is amazing! You're able to ask them questions that the Professional just can't answer... like... "do you actually really suck?" lol. Most professionals will have a few past clients that have given them permission to give out their contact information. Don't expect too much, personally, I ask my past clients each time I want to give out their contact information. Unlike most people, I actually find it easier to ask for permission than forgiveness. I will also normally only give out an email address, I feel that if the potential client would like to speak with the past client, they can do that, but can arrange it between the two of them.
"I'd Be More Assertive"
One of the most frustrating answers I get as a DJ/Host is "oh, whatever you feel". I know that they are trying to say that they trust me, but it is not my wedding, it is theirs. Every aspect and facet is their wedding. From the colors to the centerpieces, the Ceremony location to what type of socks the groomsmen are wearing... so why wouldn't you want to choose the songs that everyone will remember for years to come? I always encourage my couples to choose, even if it something simple. It's not that I don't want to choose it, it's that they SHOULD choose it.
"I'd DIY In Advance"
I actually don't do too much within the DIY department. I would agree with the statement though. Planning ahead and getting everything done, at least 2 weeks in advance, is key for DIY folks!
"I'd Reapply My Lipstick"
Again, this isn't one of my personal areas of expertise, but I would agree with it. I don't know the first thing about make up, but it makes total sense to me. You are going to kiss it off quickly, so, get some more back on there before the reception!!
"I'd give The Photographer More Direction"
I work with a LOT of amazing photographers. They have been doing this for years and years, and the one thing that I hear most say is "I wish they would tell me what they want". Do a little research, and explore the interwebs to get ideas of the types of group shots you'd like to have for your memories. Trust me, you aren't going to upset them if you come to them a few weeks before the wedding and tell them some shots that you would like to have. I am sure they would prefer that over coming to them 3 hours after the reception complaining they didn't get "that one shot you saw on Google". Communication is key folks, but also, allow your photographer to be creative.
"I'd Start My Honeymoon Two days Later"
Rest. Relax. Enjoy being together. That day after your wedding, you are going to want to do nothing at all, trust me, I know. If you wait for just one more day, you'll be able to enjoy your reception so much more. No matter where you're going, or what you're doing, that 24-48 hours of staying at home, and vegging is going to go miles for your attitude, patience and enjoyment factor.
In the article there is a final thought that I really thought brought everything back full circle... "There's always going to be one thing that's not completely perfect" says Viva La Diva's Laesser-Keck "But that doesn't mean that the decision you made was bad. So rather than get on that on thing, just it it go and remember how amazing the day was. You'll look back and you won't have any regrets."